Divya Pratap Mehta
Guest Article

How can planners harness the AI movement?

Our guest author guides planners through AI's power in shaping marketing.

Is AI just a buzz word or is it going to change our lives? This is a question that a lot of people are asking today. Some are anti-AI and pro-human, while some are using it like a cheat code, some feel AI will change industries and some are dreaming of the possibilities.

No matter which bucket you sit in. The fact of life is AI can have a profound effect on our lives in times to come. However, this article is not about life but the possible impact of the AI movement on marketing and communication. Closer home as planners how can we harness this movement and be future-ready?

In fact, the most someone can gain from the AI movement is planners. You would be wondering why such an affirming statement. Let us look at possible scenarios. To start with planners could collaborate with AI creators like creative agencies to create potential AI tools and products for business and marketing applications.

Planners are possibly uniquely trained to work with creators and collaborate. In fact, they could play an integral role in the brief to their tech team and collaborate in the execution process. This scenario opens new windows for planners. But to fully leverage the potential of this scenario planners will have to be holistic business and marketing problem solvers.

Coming close to our industry. Planners could create proprietary AI tools for agencies which can be big differentiators and can help retain clients in a more strategic way. Imagine an agency focused on problem-biased thinking creating a solution box app basis their proprietary thinking or the right 36 degrees vs. 360 degrees with dynamic AI choosing the optimum media channels based on depth, engagement, ROI and environment, optimising efficiency and impact.

AI can be a great aid in the classic planning context as well. The process of planning starts with immersion, data, analytics, analysis and insights. AI can play an important role at this stage helping planners collect data faster, collating, arranging and creating dynamic data, helping in designing and managing research and finally aiding in the process of learning, trends and insights.

Neural AI could open a new rich area of research and insights that planners could aid as inputs to these models and also leverage deep insights from deep data.

Furthermore, more AI could help planners in scenario planning by collating trends and creating possible scenarios that planners could be prepared for. AI could also be used for laddering exercises and mind maps which are more dynamic, processing past learnings. AI could help collate and analyse competitor communication activity faster.

You might be wondering then what will planners do. To start with ask the right questions. Harnessing AI will be both an art and a science.

There will still be planners needed to do imaginative thinking. Building hypothesis. AI could be leveraged to support the hypothesis with predictive models for forecasting.

To give you an example for a client who is a renewable energy leader. Planners could use AI to scramble energy conversations and trends across Social, Technological, Economic, Environmental and Political data linked to renewable energy to collate mega trends and use AI to build scenarios from a pessimistic, realistic, and optimistic lens.

The scenarios further refined by planners can then be used as input to build hypotheses. The hypothesis could be further validated on likelihood and possible tactics to act on the hypothesis. Ai could understand all these factors, and weights and help in sharper predictions and timelines. It could also understand the effect of each factor on trade and build predictive business impact and scenarios. This could help planners be more agile, business-smart, proactive and dynamic in their strategies.

The next stage of planning is a more lateral process of thinking about ideas and brand propositions. Planners could focus more on adding value at this critical stage. Sure AI could be used for inspiration and thought starters from analysis of current category marketing communication and positioning areas. Especially to learn from other industries or to think outside the box.

AI could also be used as a proxy brainstorming partner, most relevant to planners as the process of strategy fundamentally needs a sounding board to sharpen and build on ideas. An AI brainstorming partner could be a self-learning more compatible partner. Like your muse on a cloud. This could lead to more inspiring briefs for the creators they collaborate with.

Another area in a planner's life is making presentations. AI could be a powerful tool in enhancing infographics, and design and even as a tool to present. Ai can play a huge role, especially in web seminars and online presentations adding engagement tools, giving you inputs on audience engagement and multi-lingual participation to name a few.

The other large area which the industry grapples with is measurability. Measurability is a large topic where AI could have a profound effect. Planners can play a key role in designing measurability tools. Some of the possible tools could be based on ad effectiveness, brand tracks, brand value, purchase funnel improvements and analytics, brand strength etc. There could be profound implications for managing the purchase journey and the purchase funnel creating constant optimisation.

Imagine a client who is a nutrition powerhouse talking to young India. Planners could help build a brand health track by leveraging the power of Neural AI. It could be a more dynamic model adding brand actions, competitive actions, and external factors to generate real-time diagnostics. The emotive intelligence of various marketing actions could be dynamic and evolving for a more dynamic improvement of brand health.

AI could help link other data like sales and inventory for a sharper correlation of marketing action to sales, share value, long long-term and short-term gains. This would lead to smarter data evolution and actionable insights. It could create a gold mine of intelligence on nutrition needs and images, stories, words, and sounds that create positive and negative impacts. This could be a valuable input in creative briefs.

On the creative and media side AI is already being used for programmatic buying, placement and content creation. This has serious implications for creators and media planners and will be an evolving journey. The professionals who remain pure or embrace this movement will have their own reason to exist.

Like many things predicted to change but didn’t like books, traditional retail, the comeback of vinyl records, art, handicrafts etc. human bonding and expression will still have relevance. The world might be divided further between the nostalgists and the futurists, while our present keeps adapting, probably maintaining harmony to take humanity forward.

Personalisation, Consumer experience and CRM are already equipped with advanced AI. The possibilities are immense keeping in mind human good, regulation, rights and privacy of people. Some large players like Oracle are leading this conversation with sophisticated tools.

These are just some of the possibilities we have touched upon. Each of these areas and new areas need to be dwelled upon more in detail which is outside the scope of one article. The fact of life is we need to be responsible with AI and harness it for human good. Planners need to hold the mantle as a community for ethical marketing and self-regulation. That will be a challenge and will need a balance between regulation and self-regulation.

The purpose of marketing is to understand and fulfil human needs. We feel there will be a premium for human-made goods while AI can be their aid and for mass services and goods AI and robotisation can have a major impact on low-skill and mechanical human functions.

The way industrialisation and digitisation changed our lives yet made us cherish human goods. AI could be a movement that adds value to our lives without threatening human value and creation.

As we unfold this evolving journey, the future of AI is in our hands as much as AI has a profound effect on our lives. Look forward to keeping the conversation going and exploring the immense possibilities of being a positive part of the AI movement. As a fraternity, the responsibility lies with us to harness the AI movement for good. 

(Our guest author is Divya Pratap Mehta, Founder of Intertwined Brand Solutions.)

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